The other day, in moment of lamenting to my husband that I had no purpose in life, he looked at me and asked the foreboding question we all wince in pain when asked; “Laura, if you could choose to be or do anything, what would it be?” Ummmm… Pain… agony… I had to stop. Think. Ponder and twitch my lip into a thinking pose while glancing up toward the ceiling.
I had no answer.
And to the non-answer, came his reply, “You have raised two beautiful girls. You are the owner of a small business. You have traveled far and wide. You love adventure and most important, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for you.” (yeah, he’s pretty awesome like that!)
With this little verbal interaction, I found myself thinking about what I had accomplished in my lifetime, searching deep inside to see if there was something missing. Is there still something out there that I need to accomplish before I get too old to get out of bed? – Which on some days, doesn’t seem too far off!
They say that when you face a tragedy in your life, you have flashbacks where memories of childhood and young adulthood suddenly burst before your eyes, taking you back in time.
Is it possible to have these flashbacks even if there isn’t catastrophe awaiting you around the corner?
And… is it safe to say that it is ok to have memory flashbacks, even if misfortune hath not besought thee?
Later that evening, I asked my own self the question, “Laura, when you were a little girl, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?” You know, others can ask you that question, but it isn’t until you are in a quiet place – like the bathroom – that you really stop to seriously interrogate yourself and it really hits home! “What do I want to be when I grow up?” And even worse… here I am in my final year of the 40’s, and I still haven’t figured it out!
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
In 2004, I accepted a job with a company that toured across America. It was a special live event tour that ministered and communicated hope to women from all over the world. It was an incredibly fun job and during the twelve or so years I traveled with them, I literally met thousands of women. Since I worked for the tour, it seemed to the attendees that I had a special gift of having everything all together and found myself in a place of motivating and doing my best to inspire women when I myself was wallowing in pity and extreme lack of self-acceptance. In spite of my tragic emotions, I put on a happy face and offered encouragement to all who crossed my path.
The thing that I noticed the most about these women is that most were finding themselves standing at an intersection in life and they all had similar things in common with each other. They were all 40-something or older. Some were facing divorce, while others; a second or third marriage. Some were becoming empty nesters with the changing of seasons as their baby headed off to college. Many were already empty nesters. A few had lost everything due to poor financial decisions and one lady, in which I will never forget, lost her son to prison after he was found guilty of murder. The thing they all had in common? They had no idea what to do with their life. They had given everything to their family, husband or job and now, they were finding themselves in a place where they were no longer needed to the extent the past had held them so captive.
While scrolling through social media the other day, I came across a Facebook Live posting by Brene’ Brown. I stopped to listen and even though I can’t remember everything she said, I do remember this quote; “There is power in owning our story. If we own our story, we get to write the ending.”
I began to think about this quote from Brene’, and the thought of purpose seemed to slap me upside the head – as we say in the south.
Our story is our purpose. It’s our story that inspires others and changes the way we look at life. It is the actuality of who we are and the roadmap for others who are following close behind.
Our story is our entire existence and it is our entire purpose. Not only do we need to own our purpose, we need to be able to write the ending by finding that purpose. By realizing our story, we find purpose.
So, what is your purpose? What is mine?
I took a moment to look up purpose in the dictionary. Purpose is a reason for which something exists, or is done. It is an intended or desired result, a goal. It is determination and resoluteness, and finally, my favorite, it is a practical effect.
Forget about everything you thought you knew about purpose and think about this one thing… Purpose is my story. It is the story in which I am the author. Since I am the author, I get to write the ending. And… in the end, my purpose / story is the practical effect I have on others.
It is my determination to travel and see the world. It is my purpose to help those who are in need and lift up my family when they need me. It is my purpose to be the best co-worker or CEO the company has every experienced. It is my resoluteness of power to inspire others and be kind to everyone I meet.
When we can focus in on our day-to-day purpose and find joy in it, we can then find purpose for our future. What we build up in our lives today is building purpose for our tomorrow and that gives us the ability to write our story and have an unbelievable ending that causes others to then find their purpose and write their own ending.
Have you found your story? If so, write and tell me about it!